MPs have taken aim at an “alpha male culture” they see as damaging the City, despite continuing efforts to bolster diversity.
The Treasury select committee said it was clear the financial services sector was shooting itself in the foot when it came to its attitudes to women, especially those in senior roles, as confirmed by the latest gender pay gap figures.
Its report, which also accused regulators of failing to lead by example, made a series of recommendations including a demand for clear criteria on the provision of bonuses to eradicate gender bias.
Figures showed the average gender pay gap among banks and building societies is about 35% and at 52% for bonuses.
The report also called for wider gender pay gap reporting across company subsidiaries and urged senior men to remove the stigma of flexible working and tackle a culture of office presenteeism by working more flexibly themselves.
It cited imbalances over rewards as the “overwhelming reason” for women failing to take up senior roles, while female workers were also generally put off by unconscious bias such as masculine language in the recruitment process.
The committee set out its recommendations as a separate report, commissioned by the government, called for a voluntary code of conduct to help private firms balance boardrooms and promote fairness.
The findings of the review by construction company chairman James Wates – revealed by Sky News at the weekend – also recommended bosses’ pay increases were in line with those of a firm’s wider workforce.
Commenting on the report, Nicky Morgan, the committee’s chair, said: “The reporting of gender pay gaps at financial services firms confirms that a large gap exists between men and women working in finance, in part due to significantly more men than women in higher-earning and more senior positions.
“The benefits of gender diversity are highlighted in the report, including better financial performance, reduced groupthink and more open discussions.”
The committee said regulators, including the Bank of England and Financial Conduct Authority, showed “similar trends” to the financial services sector they were policing.
The Treasury also recently drew criticism after the only man on the shortlist to become a member of the Bank’s monetary policy committee got the job.
Jonathan Haskel’s appointment leaves the nine-person committee with just one female member.